The Beamed Power and Tether Challenges at this year’s Wirefly X Prize Cup did not produce any prize winners, though teams came close in both competitions.
The winner of the Beamed Power Challenge had to create a crawler capable of climbing a 55-meter-long ribbon at a speed of at least one meter per second using external power (solar, infrared, microwave, laser, or other). The University of Saskatchewan (USST) crawler came closest, making the climb in 57 seconds, two seconds short, and it was unable to descend on its own power. However, USST can claim a first: they were the only team to hoist a cash payload aboard their space elevator: a Canadian $2 coin, a US $1 coin, a US $1 bill, and a tool tag.
Two other teams were scheduled to compete on Sunday, including “Punkworks,” which was to use microwave power, but neither team succeeded due to wind problems. USST made another attempt off-site on Sunday, operating with solar power only, but then the crawler lost alignment with the sun and slowed down. The prize will roll over to $500,000 next year.
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